Hello, from the USNS Mercy! Here are two very different pictures of me but I’m smiling in both, I swear! The left is me eating cake on 4/1, a day before my 40th birthday and the day of the Chief’s establishment/birthday. My birthday was much more wine-free than I would have liked but it will be made up for at some point. On the right is from today when I decannulated a trach, aka pulled it out. It was not really a big deal but PPE is a big deal these days so I was protected!
Things have been slow, but this is a good thing! That is, we’re here to be emergency back-up and LA has it under control. I am a little bored and wish I were doing more but since elective surgeries are a no-go until at least 1 June throughout DoD, I wouldn’t be doing a lot more back at home. So, instead, I eat. Above are a few meals that I’ve had. A little lacking on the fresh veggies but tasty. Bonus: no dishes to clean!
So, how do I keep from looking like James Garretson in Tiger King? Exercise! I’ve run a 5K almost every day and I’ve also done a good number of yoga sessions with the urologist. She’s the only other female surgeon so we call it the Ladies of DSS meeting, usually at 10 am.
I also avoid the ship’s store, which sells unhealthy snacks as shown below:
They are also not good breath friendly, which is tough when we are supposed to wear masks. We are following the CDC guidelines, meaning cloth masks which we are pretty sure do next to nothing. But we are an organization of rule-followers so there’s that-
I have also run the ramps:
I have also run outside, where I sometimes see my friends, mask-free!
We keep a running casualty report. It usually involves the toilets/head:
The galley has machines with bossy signs, some inscrutable and some obvious:
We also stuffed plastic eggs for Easter. The eggs were provided by the USO- thank you!
Over the years, I have had sporadic breaks when I wasn’t traveling/I was busy/I was lazy/etc. There has never been a month break where so much has happened. I don’t have any deep thoughts about the COVID-19 pandemic but I implore anyone reading to please listen to the experts. By this I mean, CDC, WHO, and the national treasure Dr. Anthony Fauci. My career is based on science, facts, and a healthy respect for the number of unknowns that exist in our understanding of exactly how our miraculous bodies work. Acknowledging these unknowns is a sign of humility and strength, not a reason to thereby dismiss everything someone is saying. Total certainty is impossible and while it’s comforting when someone offers it, it is likely a shallow and fallible.
So, how has COVID-19 affected me? Well, I’m embarking on the USNS Mercy to our mission in LA. While things could always change (and we were told something different up until yesterday afternoon), it seems this will likely be the destination since it was announced by the President. SMS is here in San Diego and we’ve had a great week together. Our families are healthy.
Since I do like to document my travels on this blog, I’m going to briefly sum up the last month prior to 12 March or so. This is not to trivialize the current situation. As for updates from the Mercy, I will certainly be writing privately. Not as certain what will be on the blog but I will try!
SMS and I are social media stars. Ha, ha, not really. But we are in Lucid Motor’s promo video from the reveal event. So, I grabbed a screen capture for posterity!
On 19 Feb, Michelle and I had a ladies of ENT workout and slumber party. In the evening, we went for a run in the beautiful Del Mar Heights area. Then, we drank some wine. Not a lot, but I had planned to stay over so we could workout early (5:15 am) in the morning. We took an ok aerobics/toning class, followed by an awesome spin class. Hooray for work colleagues/friends!
That next weekend, SMS and I went on a hike on 2/23 to Muir Woods. We went in the “back way” so we could park on the road along a trailhead up Mt. Tam, near the highlighted Mountain home parking. We went on a 5 mile hike and it was awesome! There were beautiful redwoods in the gully and, as we went higher, we cleared the treelike and saw beautiful vistas.
Afterwards, we went to Sausalito and had some oysters and soup to re-energize us. We went to the Fish Peddler and it was really good. It was also a little less expensive than the restaurants in the heart of “downtown” (it’s really a small place overall).
The next weekend was the Lucid battery team’s 4th annual ski trip. We skied at Northstar and were finally able to use our Epic passes, which really do save money. We won’t get to use them this Winter but since we skied two days, we saved about $50 overall. Maybe next year we’ll try again.
We stayed at a really cute AirBnB. I would want to stay there again in the Summer, but can I tell you one annoying thing about AirBnB? The cleaning fee, taxes, and admin fees aren’t included in the room rate that pops up during the initial search. It really can add quite a large percentage to the actual amount paid. However, in fairness, AirBnB has had an amazing (for the renter) cancellation policy for COVID-19. So, I’m not anti-AirBnB, I’m anti-hidden costs and fees. Also, hosts that add a sizable cleaning fee should just rethink their room rate. Unless maybe there are tax reasons for doing so?
It snowed our last night there, which led to some adventures with tire chains on the way home but it was very pretty to look at from the inside of a warm house.
Then, things started changing. This is my colleague when we went to PAPR training. This was Tuesday, before I knew anything about the Mercy, which I first heard about on Wednesday. Such a compressed timeline!
And, in case you want to know about another problem of mine, here’s a screen capture of my camera roll. When I get home, please stage an intervention.
After four weekends in a row away from Menlo Park, SMS finally got a break and I travelled North. I took Valentine’s Day off not because it’s a holiday we go all out for (honestly, it feels like Christmas just happened and who wants back-to-back gift buying pressure?), but because Lucid was having a special reveal party for reservation holders. That’s us!
The event was called, “Love is in the AIR.” The attire was evening smart and it was an incredible party. I would have loved to be there from the start, but I arrived 45 minutes into the party due to insane (but typical) traffic from the airport. The showroom was open for the first time and the interior was exquisitely luxurious. There was a craft cocktail bar, which was for the party only. Lucid will not promote a drinking driving culture in everyday operations. There were special cocktails named after the different interiors. I ordered a drink with whiskey, fig, and a sprig of burnt rosemary that they flamed then and there. Impressive!
There were a lot of delicious hors d’oeuvres that were passed. I tried most of them, but didn’t act disgracefully. I always remember a party I went to where the poor server carrying the shrimp got mobbed by people who acted like they hadn’t eaten in days. Who knows, maybe they hadn’t. But it looked like a shark thrash zone with chum in the water. So, yes, I had some food as it showed up in front of me but afterwards, SMS and I realized we hadn’t really had dinner so we split a kabab plate at Oren’s Hummus.
The car reveal was preceded by a 20 minute-ish talk by the CEO/CTO highlighting some specific advances/innovations/exclusives of the car. Then, the garage door opened in a haze of fog-machine produced atmosphere and the car rolled in. It is a beautiful car and everyone was very impressed.
We spent the rest of the party trying the VR car viewer followed by talking to several Lucid employees. It was a great time and I’m so glad we went.
The next day, SMS had to work and I hung out in Palo Alto. I went to Rumble Boxing, Blue Bottle (twice!), the mall, and the grocery store. I also did some laundry and cooked dinner for Valentine’s Day. Forget “Engagement Chicken,” I made SMS some biscuits and gravy! It turned out pretty well although I think the sausage we used the first time was better. Then we had molten lava cakes for dessert, which were very tasty. I know the menu is not pleasingly cohesive but, hey, it worked for us!
On Saturday, we had a Blue Bottle breakfast and shopped for veggies at the small farmer’s market. Then we headed up to Lafayette to hang out with Jyotsna and Akshay. It was a fun afternoon of eating, drinking, and socializing. We went to their friends’ house in Orinda for a bit. It was nice to talk to them. We had met once before and got along well. We headed home for dinner. I made a Zuppa Tuscana that was pretty tasty and a dupe for the Olive Garden soup for those in the know.
Sunday was our more active day. We ate breakfast at home and then went for a hike on Windy Hill. It was a gorgeous day. I feel so lucky to be able to go on such great hikes! I also made a veggie lasagna that was pretty good. Thanks Smitten Kitchen!
Monday was another work day for SMS/holiday for me. I went to Rumble and Blue Bottle. I was going to go to the museum but Jyotsna invited me to a farm tour!
We went to the Nest Box farm and it was a delight! We fed cows, chickens, goats, and sheep. We collected eggs. There was a small picnic that we supplemented with more food and (surprise!) wine. We looked at the barn, garden areas, and pet rescue rabbit area. It was a beautiful day to be outside and a really cool experience. I want to go back with SMS and stay overnight, which will allow us to do more on the farm like milk a cow!
SMS came home a little after 6. We had some dinner and after that, it was time to go to the airport since I needed to head back so I could be on time for my Tuesday clinic. It was such a great weekend!
SMS and I had another great weekend in San Diego. After he arrived Friday night, we woke up Saturday morning and decided to go to Morning Glory and try the famous soufflé pancakes. We got there around 9:30 and the line was already pretty crazy. We had been warned to go early but hey, it was Saturday and I didn’t want to hurry. There were two seats left at the seat-yourself bar area so we lucked out!
We had coffee, soufflé pancakes, and the Georgian (country) dish Khachapuri. There was an extensive boozy drink menu but I was on call. The guy next to us said his was intense! The soufflé pancakes were pretty good and the Khacapuri was basically fancy cheesy bread. Overall, I liked the place but there are so many brunch places in San Diego that I would choose trying a new place rather than going back.
After breakfast, we went to the Farmer’s Market. Overall, it was a pretty mellow day which was great since the next day was race day!
Yes, I had signed up for the Coronado Valentine’s 10K after my sister-in-law told me about it. She’s an amazing athlete so her time was about 10 minutes faster than mine and she didn’t even had a good race. But, I was very excited about my splits since I averaged just over 8 min/mile and it had been awhile since I’ve done that! Also, my last mile was run in 7’34” which was unexpected and motivating to keep working out!
Afterwards, we went to The Henry with the whole family for brunch so two good brunches in a row. SMS went home later that evening so kind of a quick, mellow weekend.
*All news that’s “fit” to print! I love Instagram. Maybe finding this indicates that I’ve spent too much time scrolling this week? Hmmm….
* I was happy that I wrote the NYC/Brooklyn recap in a timely manner! #newyearnewme?
* I finished a non-fiction book in January so I’m pretty happy that I’m trying to mix up my reading. But, in all honesty, I should aim more for informational non-fiction rather than memoir/productivity if I want to really expand my horizons.
* I’m running a race this Sunday and, although I have been working out, I really only started running training….this.week. I feel pretty good though. After a Fall of minor leg tweaks (left knee, left big toe- weird I know), I feel pretty intact. I think all of the credit goes to my month of yoga in January.